Wright - BT300 W8 1788

160 The NEW and COMPLETE LI F E of our BLESSED LORD had permitted this dreadful puni{hment to befall them : but our bleffed Saviour ex prefsly told them, that they were much mifiaken in this conclufion, for this deplo- rable calamity was no indication that thefe Galileans were greater finners than their countrymen. At the fame time, he exhorted them to improve fuch inftances of cala- mity and mifery, as incitements to their own repentance, affuring them that if they negle&ed fo jufl and neceffary a work; they should all perifh : And Jefus anfwer- ingfaid unto them, Suppofe ye that thefe Galilean were (inners above all the Gali= leans, becaufe they fufferedfuch things? I tell you, Nay : but, except you. repent, ye (hall all likewife perk. He further illuftrated this doarine, by remarking, that this way of interpreting the difpenfations of Providence, would lead them to erroneous conclufions, when- ever they heard of unexpeaed and dread- ful evils falling on the foes of men ; and inftanced the cafe of the eighteen per- fons on whom the tower of Siloam fell, and crulhed them to pieces-: Or, faid he, thole eighteen upon whom the tower in Si- loam fell, andfew them, thinkye that they were inners above all men that dwelt in. 3'erufalem? Itellyou, Nay: but, exceptyou repent, ye 'hall all likewife perk. Our Lord alfo endeavoured to roufe them to the confideration of their £fate, by the parable of the fig tree, which the matter of the vineyard, after finding it threeyears barren, ordered to be deftroyed, but at the earneft requefi of the dreffer of the vineyard, it was fpared oneyear longer: A certain man, faid he, had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he cameand fought fruit thereon, and found none. Then faid he unto the dreffer of his vine- yard, Behold, thefe three years I comefeek- ing fruit on this fig tree, and find none; cut it down, why cumbereth it theground? And he anfwering, faidunto him, Lord, let it alone this year alfo, till Idig about it, and clung it : and ifit bearfruit, well; and if not, then after that thou 'halt cut it down. 3 By this parable, our Lord reprefented the goodnefs and forbearance of his -Al- mighty Father, manifefied towards the Jewifh nation, where his Son had now been about three years, preaching the kingdom of God :' and though they might be jufily deflroyed for their obflinacy and perverfe- nefs, yet the awful firoke was delayed, and fpace was given them for repentance ; but he gave them a flrong intimation, in this parable, that if they perfifted they muff ex- pea that vengeancewill not always fleep, but, after all the divine forbearance had been abufed, would awake to their fudden and dreadful deflrubfion. When our Lord was teaching in one of the fynagogues in Perea, on the Sabbath - day, he obferved a woman, who, for the fpace of eighteen years, had not been able to iland upright. A perfon labouring un- der fo dreadful a diforder, could not fail of exciting the compaflion of the benevo- lent Saviour of finners ; he beheld this af- feéling obje& with pity, and he removed her complaint; the who came to the fyna- gogue bowed down to the ground with an infirmity, returned to her houfe upright, being, by the all-powerful Son of God, re- flored to perfea health. This benevolent a&ion, which furely deferved the thanks of the whole congre- gation, fo highly offended the matter of the fynagogue, that he openly tefiified his difpleafure, and reproved the people, and reprefented them as Sabbathbreakers, b'e- caufe they came that day to be healed: There arefix days, faid this furly, felf-eon- ceited ruler to the people, in which men ought to work : in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath-day. But our Lord foon filenced this felf- conceited Pharifee, by obferving that he had not deviated from their own avowed praétice: they made no fcruple of loofing their cattle, and leading them to the water on the Sabbath-day, becaufe the mercy of the action fufliciently juflified them for performing it ; and furely his anion of loofing, by a Tingle word, a woman, a rational